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5 octobre 2015 1 05 /10 /octobre /2015 07:20
Canadian PM: Human Rights Issues Won't Derail LAV Sale to Saudis

Canadian leadership says it will proceed with the sale of light armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Shown here is an upgraded LAV. (Photo: General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada)


October 4, 2015 By David Pugliese – Defense News


VICTORIA, British Columbia — Canada’s prime minister said a deal to provide Saudi Arabia with light armored vehicles will proceed despite growing concerns about that country’s human rights record. The CAN $14.8 billion (US $11 billion) deal would see General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada of London, Ontario, selling Saudi Arabia light armored vehicles (LAV) in what Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the “largest [export] contract in Canadian history.” The deal, originally announced in February 2014, has been shrouded in secrecy, with the Saudis not even acknowledging they are purchasing the Canadian-built LAVs. But Canada’s federal election campaign has now thrust the contract into the spotlight.


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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 18:55
French To Boost Budget, Equipment Spending


October 2, 2015 By Pierre Tran – Defense News


PARIS — France will boost the 2016 defense budget by €600 million (US $671 million) to €32 billion, of which equipment spending will receive an extra €300 million, as set out in the parliamentary bill published Sept. 30.


Of the total budget, funds for equipment will rise to €17 billion from €16.7 billion. Among the kit to be delivered next year are nine Rafale fighters, three A400M transport aircraft, five Tiger combat and six NH90 transport helicopters, one multimission frigate, 25 heavy vehicles for special forces, and a first batch of cruise missiles for the frigate and Barracuda attack submarine.


Contracts will be signed for upgrade of the Mirage 2000D fighter-bomber, a fourth multimission frigate and an Anglo-French naval anti-mine drone. Some €3.8 billion is earmarked for research and development, with €710 million for feasibility studies.


In 2016, there will be continued French cooperation with Germany and Italy on a medium-altitude, long-endurance drone, a second phase in the Anglo-French unmanned combat air system–demonstrator program, and a Franco-German order for a third spy satellite, said Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. That showed French pursuit of European cooperation in a “pragmatic and concrete way,” he said.


The deal to set up a holding company jointly held by French state-owned Nexter and German family-controlled Krauss-Maffei Wegmann is expected to be formally completed this month or November, a French executive said. That is earlier than expected as the German regulatory authorities had given a surprisingly speedy clearance on the deal.


The 2016 budget revises upward the funds set out in the 2014-2019 multiyear budget law.

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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:55
Ventes d'armes : 2015, une année record pour la France


01 octobre 2015 Par Alexandre Kara et L.H. - Europe1


A ce jour, la France est le deuxième exportateur mondial d'armement en 2015.

Il y a au moins un domaine dans lequel l’économie française réalise des performances exceptionnelles : les ventes d'armes. En effet, jamais la France n'en a vendu autant que cette année. Si l’on bloque les compteurs aujourd'hui, l'Hexagone est même devenu le deuxième exportateur mondial d’armement, derrière les Etats-Unis mais devant la Russie. A deux mois de la fin de l’année, le total des ventes d’armes tricolores en 2015 avoisine déjà les 16 à 17 milliards d’euros. A noter aussi : pour la première fois, la France exporte plus de matériel militaire qu'elle n'en achète pour ses besoins.

Des performances qui ont des retombées positives pour l'économie française. Ces ventes record génèrent en effet de l'emploi : près de 60.000 postes en l’espace de trois ans, non délocalisables dans leur grande majorité.


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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:45
A Scan Eagle UAV

A Scan Eagle UAV


02 October 2015 by defenceWeb


Five African countries will receive 62 armoured personnel carriers manufactured by Mack Defense of the United States under a contract awarded by the United States Army in support of US Africa Command, while another six countries will receive Oskosh military trucks and two will receive Scan Eagle UAVs.


The US Department of Defence announced the armoured vehicle contract on 25 September, which will see Mack Defense of Allentown, Pennsylvania, supplying the vehicles to Cameroon, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tunisia and Uganda.


The firm fixed-price foreign military sales contract is worth $24 974 528 and covers armoured personnel carriers in both left-hand and right-hand drive as well as common spare parts.


Work will be performed in France with an estimated completion date of 30 December 2016. Bids were solicited via the Internet with seven received. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.


In July the United States Army announced it would seek between 19 and 400 new armoured personnel carriers for the US military’s Africa Command. The presolicitation notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website, stated that the vehicles should be 2015 or later year models and have a minimum seating capacity for ten passengers. They should also have B7 360-degree ballistic protection (against armour piercing 7.62 mm rounds), 4x4 drivetrain with a V-hull chassis design, manual transmission, mechanically-controlled, high-sulphur (5,000 ppm) diesel engine in both left-hand drive and right-hand drive and operator manuals in English and French or Arabic.


The estimated three-year combined vehicle quantities in year one are 155, year two 125, and year three 120.


Also on 25 September the US Department of Defense announced it had awarded Oshkosh Defense LLC a $21 774 963 modification to an existing foreign military sales contract for Djibouti, Jordan, Kenya, Tunisia, Uganda and Ethiopia for an additional 84 Medium Tactical Vehicle trucks and 59 B-kits (supplemental armour).


The estimated completion date of the truck contract is 28 February 2017.


Oskosh offers its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles in a variety of configurations, such as five ton tractor, 8.8 ton Load Handling System, 4x4 and 6x6 cargo, ten ton dump truck and five ton wrecker.


One of the other contracts awarded late last month include the delivery of one Insitu Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system (comprising multiple aircraft) to Kenya and another to Cameroon. In-country work will be carried out in Nanyuki in central Kenya and the Cameroonian port city of Doula. Both contracts are expected to be completed by September 2016.

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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:30
Industry Officials: Ankara's Foreign Policy Has Cost Turkish Firms $2.5B


October 3, 2015 By Burak Ege Bekdil – Defense News


ANKARA — A senior Turkish industry official who coordinates efforts to win back Arabian Gulf markets does not hide his admiration for the country’s foreign policy calculus, calling it  “one with a character.” But he admits that the policy has cost the local defense industry US $2.5 billion in lost contracts with neighboring Muslim countries.


Hakan Kurt is general coordinator for High-Tech Port, which brings together 67 top Turkish defense companies, most from the aerospace, naval systems, information technology, missile systems, defense engineering and armored vehicles sectors. High-Tech Port companies will display their systems at an eponymous exhibition in Qatar Oct. 6-8, hoping to penetrate further into the lucrative Arabian Gulf markets.


“Only in one shot, Roketsan lost a $700 million contract,” Kurt said,  declining to name the  country from which the state-controlled missile maker would have won that contract. 


“Democracy or not, we are not responsible for the [monarchic] regimes in Gulf countries," he said. "For us, they represent lucrative future markets.”


Turkish companies that come under the corporate identity of High-Tech Port target exports to Gulf countries worth $5 billion in the next 10 years and $20 billion in the next 20 years. They hope Qatar will play the role of a bridge to export indigenous systems to the region. Prospective Gulf markets include Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which are considered the most promising sources of new business for Turkish companies, and Qatar, Turkey's closest regional ally. Early this year Turkey and Qatar signed a comprehensive military accord that gives both countries the right to deploy soldiers in each other’s territory and includes cooperation in military training, defense industry and joint military drills.


Turkey’s defense exports in 2014 rose 17.7 percent to an all-time high of $1.65 billion. They were at a mere $600 million in 2008.


Since the immediate aftermath of the Arab Spring of 2010-12, Turkey has opted for an assertive regional foreign policy, trying to help build Muslim Brotherhood-backed or similar democratically elected Islamist governments in Arab countries. Ankara also downgraded in 2010 its diplomatic ties with former ally Israel. Many analysts observe that Turkey’s regional policies are deeply pro-Muslim Brotherhood, anti-Israeli and sectarian, favoring Sunni groups against Shiite.


“Many Arab countries today view Turkey as a liability rather than an asset despite common religion,” said one London-based Middle East expert. “It may take Turkey several years to build meaningful alliances in the region.”


In Syria, Turkey strongly advocates the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad. The two neighbors do not have diplomatic relations. In Egypt, Turkey supports the ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammad Morsi and does not recognize the legitimacy of incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.


The government does not agree that its policy in the region has had any effect on Turkish companies' contracts or lack thereof among Arab countries.


“We don’t see a direct link between our regional policy and defense sales," a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said. "Our defense and related exports [in general] have been on the rise before, during and after the Arab Spring."


One senior Turkish defense company official said that  Turkey's diplomatic rows with Egypt cost his company a $250 million contract in Egypt.


Two of Turkey’s Shiite-dominated neighbors, Iran and Iraq, view Turkey with deep suspicion because of its pro-Sunni sectarian policies. So does multi-religious Lebanon.


In north Africa, both Tunisia’s government and Libya’s officially recognized government maintain distant relations  with Turkey’s ruling Islamist party, the Justice and Development Party.


Similarly, Turkey’s pro-Muslim Brotherhood policies have pushed Gulf countries Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) away from its industrial sphere of influence. In contrast, Qatar has remained Turkey’s best regional ally since the beginning of the Arab Spring.


“By a simple count, you can easily reach the conclusion that Turkey’s foreign policy over the past five years has created deep fault lines with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Yemen," one senior Turkish industry source said. "That makes a total of 11 countries, otherwise potentially a huge market for Turkey.” 


But an Arab diplomat in Ankara thinks that some rapprochement, particularly with Saudi Arabia, which recently has softened its stance against the Muslim Brotherhood, may improve Turkish-Saudi ties.


“Better ties with the Kingdom and other Gulf states would require Turkey to recalibrate its policies,” he said.

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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:20
Boeing might stop Manufacturing Fighter Planes


September 30, 2014 by: Udaynti Patel


With future-focused solutions, Boeing is the name reckoned for fixed wing aircraft, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, unmanned systems and weapons. Having built world-class military planes for almost a century, now the sad news is that the company is getting ready for a fighter-less future.


So far this year, the company is said to have delivered nine of its F-15 Eagle fighters, 31 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, along with EA-18G Growlers. By moving at a pace of manufacturing of four every month, the Super Hornet/Growler will provide a total of 47 airplanes in 2014. However, the F-15 has no monthly delivery program the company delivered two planes in January, April & June respectively and one in February, March & July and not any in the month of May or August.

Henceforth, the firm commitment of the U.S. along with many allies to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program formed by Lockheed Martin Corp. At this rate, Boeing is running out of funding for the fighters. At the present scenario, the head of the company’s defense unit is formulating a roadmap which would grant the market to Lockheed and shift the future of the business on other aircrafts, together with military versions of their commercial jetliners.


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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:20
F-35C Lightning II Testing Aboard USS Eisenhower (CVN 69)


3 oct. 2015 by US Navy


An F-35C Lighting II makes an arrested landing aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) October 2, 2015, operating off the east coast of the US. The F-35 Lightning II Program is conducting its second developmental test (DT-II) at sea. While aboard Eisenhower from October 2-15, the Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) will test F-35C carrier suitability and integration in the at-sea environment. The test team will achieve this objective through a series of test events designed to gradually expand the aircraft operating envelope at sea. Shipboard testing delivers the opportunity to conduct routine F-35C operations while embarked on an aircraft carrier. The F-35C will perform a variety of operational maneuvers during DT-II — including catapult takeoffs and arrested landings — while simulating maintenance operations and conducting general maintenance and fit tests for the aircraft and support equipment.

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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:20
Un drone RQ-4 Global Hawk, de Northop Grumman (Photo: Archives/US Air Force)

Un drone RQ-4 Global Hawk, de Northop Grumman (Photo: Archives/US Air Force)

02.10.2015 45eNord.ca (AFP)

Le marché des drones militaires et de sécurité devrait presque doubler d’ici 2024 et dépasser les 10 milliards de dollars, selon une étude de IHS-Jane’s publiée vendredi.


«Le marché global de défense et de sécurité pour les UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, NDLR], également connus sous le nom de  »drones », va croître de 5,5 % par an au cours de la décennie, pour passer de 6,4 milliards de dollars actuellement à 10,4 milliards d’ici 2024», selon cette étude.

Les drones sont là pour longtemps, déclare Derrick Maple, analyste spécialiste des drones à la publication spécialisée Jane’s.

«Ces systèmes sont bien établis, éprouvés au combat et sont un élément essentiel et en développement pour les futures opérations autour de la planète», a-t-il ajouté.

Selon la Jane’s, les États-Unis vont reprendre leur place de leader du marché à l’export cette année, devant Israël qui s’y était hissé en 2014. À eux deux, les deux pays représentaient 71 % des exportations en 2014.

En 2015, les États-Unis devraient représenter 57 % des exportations de drones et les deux tiers au cours des cinq prochaines années.

«Cette année et dans un futur prévisible, la prévision est que les États-Unis vont reprendre une position significative de leader» avec les ventes du Predator de General Atomics ou du Global Hawk de Northrop Grumman.

L’industrie du drone en Europe occidentale, dont les ventes devraient s’établir à 1,3 milliard de dollars d’ici 2024, continue d’augmenter ses capacités dans l’objectif d’établir une base solide et de réduire sa dépendance aux drones américains et israéliens.

D’autres, comme la Chine, la Russie, l’Inde, la Corée du Sud ou le Japon, augmentent leurs investissements et leurs ventes devraient atteindre les 3,4 milliards de dollars d’ici 2024.

Selon Huw Williams, de la Jane’s International Defence Review, les drones «ont fait la preuve de leur utilité au cours de la décennie écoulée, principalement en Afghanistan.»

«Les opérateurs tendent à présent à étendre les types de missions au-delà de la surveillance et la reconnaissance, et introduisent des systèmes d’armes électroniques et de renseignement sophistiqués, ainsi qu’une variété plus large de munitions», ajoute-t-il.

«Avec la maturation des technologies, nous allons voir des drones de combat [Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles, UCAV, NDLR] entrer en service», avec des capacités furtives, d’emport et d’armement améliorées.

«Ils opèreront aux côtés d’avions pilotés et pourront même les remplacer dans de nombreuses tâches», a-t-il relevé, en estimant que ce type d’opération avec des aéronefs pilotés à bord aux côtés de drones seront de plus en plus cruciales et nécessaires.

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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:20
F-35C Conducts First External Weapons Release with Not One, but Four 500-pound Bombs

CF-2 releases one of four 500-pound GBU-12 laser guided inert bombs from its wings’ pylons on Sept. 23, 2015, over the Atlantic Test Range. The test marked the first time an F-35 Lightning II conducted an external weapons separation release.


October 02, 2015 f35.com


For the fist time an F-35 released an external weapon from its wings, not once, but four times during an external weapons separation test on 23 September 2015.


The aircraft, CF-2, released four 500-pound GBU-12 laser guided inert bombs from its wings’ pylons during consecutive test runs over the Atlantic Test Range. The F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force conducted the flight and noted all four weapon separations were successful and confirmed the accuracy of the predicted release trajectory. The ability to do quadruple separation tests during a single flight demonstrates the program’s ability to efficiently test, and advances the F-35’s future capability to release multiple weapons on a single pass.




During the sortie, flight test engineers monitored and reviewed telemetry data from each GBU-12 separation event to confirm it was safe to proceed to the next release point. The team also saved costs by clearing the range once rather than four times to accomplish each separation.


Traditional flight test programs often rely upon a series of individual separation flights to accommodate engineering analysis to determine if it is safe to proceed to the next test point. The F-35 weapons certification process combined extensive wind tunnel testing and computer analysis to predict the trajectory of the weapons released from the aircraft. Additionally, the F-35 features an on-board instrumentation capability that delivers real-time data analysis to engineers in the control room. Each weapon separation matched simulation models with a high degree of fidelity, which expedites the clearances of future weapons and employment envelopes.


This year, the F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force, has flown 500 flights and achieved 3,400 test points. The team’s five F-35B and four F-35C aircraft have supported a wide array of mission systems and flight tests.

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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 11:20
Un CT-155 Hawk en vol. (Archives/ARC)

Un CT-155 Hawk en vol. (Archives/ARC)


01.10.2015 par Nicolas Laffont - 45eNord.ca

CAE a annoncé aujourd’hui la conclusion de l’acquisition de la division «Formation à l’aviation militaire» de Bombardier pour une valeur 19,8 millions $. Toutes les conditions et approbations réglementaires requises ont été obtenues et la transaction a été conclue.


Cette acquisition renforce considérablement les compétences principales de CAE à titre d’intégrateur de systèmes de formation (TSI) partout dans le monde, et élargit son offre dans le domaine du soutien de l’entraînement en vol des futurs pilotes militaires, y compris les pilotes de chasseurs de prochaine génération, de l’Aviation royale canadienne et de ses alliés.

CAE devient ainsi le maître d’œuvre du programme d’entraînement en vol de l’OTAN au Canada (NFTC) qui fournit des pilotes militaires qualifiés aux clients dans le domaine de la défense. Les 200 employés situés à Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan) et à Cold Lake (Alberta) deviennent, à partir d’aujourd’hui, des employés de CAE.

«Nous sommes heureux de souhaiter la bienvenue au sein de CAE à l’équipe qui appuie le programme d’entraînement en vol de l’OTAN au Canada», a déclaré Gene Colabatistto, président de groupe, Défense et sécurité à CAE. «La conclusion de l’acquisition de ce programme découle du récent contrat concurrentiel remporté aux États-Unis relativement au programme d’entraînement des pilotes d’appareils à voilure fixe de l’U.S. Army, un autre système d’entraînement complet qui inclut l’entraînement sur appareils. Ensemble, ces programmes accélèrent la progression de la capacité d’intégration des systèmes de formation de CAE ainsi que sa stratégie globale.»

Le programme NFTC a été lancé en 2000 et l’espace aérien d’entraînement couvre une superficie de plus de 700 000 kilomètres à la base des Forces canadiennes (CFB) Moose Jaw et à la CFB Cold Lake.

En plus d’offrir une formation en classe, sur ordinateur et par l’intermédiaire de simulateurs, le programme NFTC fournit une formation en vol grâce à une flotte composée d’avions Beechcraft T-6 (CT-156 Harvard) et d’avions de chasse d’entraînement BAE Systems Hawk (CT-155 Hawk).

Le programme NFTC assure également la maintenance et l’exploitation complètes des avions en vertu du programme de navigabilité du ministère de la Défense nationale du Canada.

En plus de l’Aviation royale canadienne, d’autres partenaires et alliés de l’OTAN ont demandé à des élèves-pilotes et à des instructeurs du Danemark, du Royaume-Uni, de Singapour, de l’Italie, de la Hongrie, de l’Autriche, de l’Arabie Saoudite et des Émirats arabes unis de suivre le programme NFTC.

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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 07:55
Les drones-gendarmes, c’est vraiment pour demain ?


02.10.2015 par Jean-Michel Normand - La foire du drone


Evoquée par les pouvoirs publics lors du Comité interministériel de sécurité routière du 2 octobre, la mise en service de drones-radars a créé une certaine surprise. Cette hypothèse n'est pas nouvelle mais, si l'on en croit le ministère de l'intérieur, elle pourrait prendre corps. Des expérimentations vont avoir lieu dans les prochains mois.


Du bluff ou pas ?
Il y a deux façons de jauger l'importance à accorder au projet de drones-gendarmes. La première consiste à n'y voir qu'un élément de la guerre psychologique que le gouvernement entend mener en évoquant le recours à un nouvel outil anti-délinquance routière, nimbé d'un halo de mystère et d'aura technologique. Le caractère très lapidaire de l'annonce d'une « expérimentation » prochaine, ajoutent les sceptiques, suggère que le projet est encore loin de pouvoir se concrétiser au plan opérationnel. Il y a un an, le ministère de l'intérieur avait déjà évoqué la mise à contribution de drones. Il était même plus précis, évoquant la mise en fonction progressive de 10 000 drones-radars à partir de fin 2016. L'autre réaction se base sur les applications actuelles de drones civils (dans les domaines de l'agriculture, des travaux publics ou de la surveillance des voies ferrées, par exemple) pour considérer qu'il est tout à fait envisageable de faire voler des drones pour surveiller le trafic automobile. L'épée de Damoclès serait d'autant plus réelle que police et gendarmerie ont, ces derniers temps, une tendance grandissantes à recourir à des drones dans le cadre de leurs autres missions. Il semble que cette dernière hypothèse soit la plus crédible


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4 octobre 2015 7 04 /10 /octobre /2015 07:45
Des armes made in Morocco


3 Octobre 2015 T. Mourad – Libe.ma


Le Royaume en pourparlers avec l’Espagne, les Etats-Unis et la France pour la création d’usines mixtes


Une étude réalisée par l’entreprise américaine Frost and Sullivan a estimé que le Royaume est considéré comme l’un des cinq pays (Colombie, Koweït, Malaisie, Singapour et Maroc) où l’industrie de défense émergera au cours de la prochaine décennie.

La même étude relayée par l’agence espagnole EFE a précisé que, vu les dangers grandissants dans la région et notamment le terrorisme jihadiste, les dépenses militaires du Royaume croîtront de 3,6 % durant les 10 prochaines années. Et de prévoir que les budgets de défense du Maroc et des quatre pays de référence passeront de 38,73 billions de dollars en 2015 à 55,51 billions de dollars en 2025, soit une croissance annuelle de 3,7 %.

« Contrairement aux principales économies émergentes comme l’Inde, la Corée du Sud, la Turquie, les Emirats arabes unis et le Brésil, les cinq pays sélectionnés pour cette étude tentent de développer une base industrielle locale et de diminuer le recours à l'équipement étranger », a souligné l’étude américaine.

Dans ce sens, le Maroc mène des négociations avec les Etats-Unis, la France et l’Espagne pour mettre en place une industrie locale d’armement par la création d’entreprises mixtes, d’après EFE.

Il y a quelques semaines, le site web «Infodefensa.com» avait publié une déclaration du directeur général de l’armement et du matériel de l’armée espagnole, le général de corps d’armée Juan Manuel Garcia Montana, en marge du dernier salon de l’armement DSEI 2015 à Londres, soulignant que «le Maroc a officiellement demandé aux autorités militaires espagnoles de participer à la création d’une industrie militaire locale, avec l’aide des entreprises ibériques opérant dans l’industrie de l’armement».

« Le Royaume veut suivre l’exemple de son voisin et rival l’Algérie qui a conclu d’importants accords militaires avec des entreprises allemandes », a souligné EFE en rappelant l’accord signé entre les deux pays pour un montant de 2,7 milliards de dollars avec le géant de l’industrie militaire allemande, Rheinmetall, pour l’installation d’une usine de fabrication de blindés près de Constantine qui  permettra de produire un millier d’unités de transport de troupes Fuchs2. Par ailleurs, « Alger s’est engagé à ne pas vendre à un Etat tiers les 120 chars qui sortiront annuellement de sa future usine vu que Berlin ne vend pas de matériel de guerre à des pays tiers », a souligné la presse algérienne.

Il convient de souligner que le Maroc a signé un contrat de 358 millions de dollars avec la société américaine spécialisée dans la fabrication de véhicules blindés « General Dynamics Land Systems » pour la livraison en 2018 de 150 chars « M1A1 Abrams » complètement rénovés. Une rénovation s’effectuera dans les locaux de Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC), entreprise publique, appartenant au ministère de la Défense, située dans la ville de Lima dans l’Etat de l’Ohio.

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3 octobre 2015 6 03 /10 /octobre /2015 11:35
The Long March-6 carrier rocket lifts off from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in north China's Shanxi Province at 7 a.m. Beijing time on September 20, 2015. Photo Xinhua

The Long March-6 carrier rocket lifts off from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in north China's Shanxi Province at 7 a.m. Beijing time on September 20, 2015. Photo Xinhua


October 1, 2015: Strategy Page


On September 20 2015 China successfully tested the latest version of its Long March satellite launcher; Long March 6 (LM 6). This version is optimized for putting multiple small satellites in orbit on the same mission and on short notice. The test launch put twenty small scientific satellites into orbit. LM 6 is a 103 ton liquid fueled rocket that can put a ton of payload into a 700 kilometers high orbit. LM 6 can operate from a standard satellite launch facility or from a TEL (transporter erector launcher) vehicle (which is basically a slightly larger trailer similar to those used for hauling tanks). LM 6 was also designed to be made ready for launch quickly (six days or so) giving it a military capability. That means if China has to get a surveillance or communications satellite in orbit quickly, LM 6 is the solution. China is also developing small surveillance and communications satellites for such emergencies.


China's main satellite launcher, the "Long March" rocket, is based on Russian designs, meaning it is simple, cheap and reliable. This has made China a major player in the satellite launching business. China competes on price. The U.S. Space Shuttle was retired because it was the most expensive way to get stuff into orbit. Satellites sent up via the Space Shuttle cost $25 million a ton. The Russians and Chinese will do it for under $10 million a ton. But insurance can more than double that cost if there have been a number of recent failures with Russian and Chinese boosters. This keeps more reliable American and European boosters in business. The Long March has a failure rate of about five percent, which was a little higher than twice the rate for the most used Russian launcher. The Space Shuttle failure rate was two percent, as were most Western satellite launchers.


 The Long March 3 and 4 have been doing most of the Chinese commercial launches since the 1980s. Currently the largest Long March 3 model weighs over 400 tons and can put 12 tons in low earth orbit and 5.5 tons in a high one (geostationary transfer orbit). The Chinese took their time to perfect Long March, requiring 28 years to make the first fifty launches, and nine years for the next fifty. So far, Long March has carried out 202 successful launches.


While military satellites get more media attention, the real business of space, and where the Chinese put most of their efforts, is in commercial satellites. The Chinese have noted that since the 1980s space satellites have become big business. By 2012 there were about 1,000 active satellites in orbit, and nearly half of them were American. The number of satellites has been going down a bit since then because individual satellites last longer and can do more. It is expected that the number of satellites will now start to rise rapidly because of the popularity of mini-satellites (under 100 kg/220 pounds). Some of these mini-sats are much smaller (under ten kg) and still useful. In some cases dozens of mini-sats are put into orbit by one launcher.


About 75 percent of all satellites are non-military. Most of them are commercial, the rest government non-military birds. Since 2001 satellite industry revenues more than doubled, from $86 billion (in 2014 dollars) a year to over $200 billion now. The cost of the satellites is less than ten percent of annual satellite revenues. About four percent of the money comes from launching all those satellites and 36 percent of those launches are military. The U.S. has about a third of the launch business, mainly because of the requirement that U.S. classified satellites be launched by American rockets. About half the satellite launches (and two-thirds of the satellites) were for communications, which generates the most income (mostly for TV, followed by data). The U.S. remains the major manufacturer of commercial satellites, with over half of the market. China sees opportunity in all this and has come a long way in a short time to take advantage of it.


In 1957 the Russian Sputnik was the first satellite ever put in orbit. The U.S. followed in 1958. Since then, ten other nations have done the same. France launched its first satellite in 1965, Japan and China in 1970, Britain in 1971, and India in 1980. Israel launched its first satellite in 1988. Ukraine did so in 1995. Iran claims to have put a satellite in orbit recently, but there is no conclusive proof. North Korea put a dead (non-responsive) satellite up in December 2012 and South Korea followed with a successful launch of a very active satellite a month later.


Since 2010 China has launched about 20 satellites a year and by the end of the decade expect to have 200 satellites in orbit. This is about a fifth of the total and nearly half as many as the United States. At that point China expects to be launching 30 satellites a year and accounting for over a quarter of the worldwide launch capability. All this momentum has been the result of three decades of effort and an enormous spurt of activity since 2010. In the two decades after 1990 China carried out 30 commercial satellite launches, putting 36 satellites in orbit. Now China puts that many satellites up in 18 months.

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3 octobre 2015 6 03 /10 /octobre /2015 11:30
Reconnaissance faciale, logiciel israélien développé par SkaKash LLC


30.09.2015 IsraelValley Desk - Défense


Après le massacre de l’église de Charleston aux USA, de nombreux lieux de culte se sont tournés vers Churchix, un logiciel israélien développé par SkaKash qui permet de scan­ner des centaines de visa­ges entrant dans un lieu et de signaler la présence de personnes à risque répertoriées dans leur base de données.


Mis au point par Moshe Greenspan, Churchix a été dérivé d’un autre produit de reconnaissance faciale du nom de Face-Six mais lorsque qu’une grande église américaine lui a demandé de l’adapter à son usage, il a compris qu’il y avait là une niche importante puisque les portes des églises aux USA sont toujours ouvertes pendant les offices pour accueillir les fidèles. (Israel Magazine)


A SAVOIR. La reconnaissance de visage est un domaine de la vision par ordinateur consistant à reconnaitre automatiquement une personne à partir d’une image de son visage. C’est un sujet particulièrement étudié en vision par ordinateur, avec de très nombreuses publications et brevets, et des conférences spécialisées. La reconnaissance de visage a de nombreuses applications en vidéo-surveillance, biométrie, robotique, indexation d’images et de vidéos, recherche d’images par le contenu, etc.


La reconnaissance de visage consiste à déterminer l’identité d’une personne à partir d’une image de son visage. Pour cela, il est nécessaire que l’identité de la personne soit connue au préalable, au moyen d’une ou plusieurs images de son visage, ou d’un modèle 3D de son visage.


On distingue deux types de tâches:

L’identification, appelée aussi one-to-many (1:N), consiste à déterminer l’identité d’un individu parmi N identités connues, présentes dans une base.

La vérification, appelée aussi one-to-one (1:1), consiste à vérifier que l’identité prétendue est bien la bonne.

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2 octobre 2015 5 02 /10 /octobre /2015 07:40
BPC Sebastopol photo Grigory Sysoev Sputnik

BPC Sebastopol photo Grigory Sysoev Sputnik


24 Sep 2015 by ROSTEC


KRET and UIMC have proposed solutions regarding the equipment of the helicopter carrier


Rostec Corporation holding companies, namely KRET and United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (UIMC), have expressed their readiness to cooperate with the new buyers of the French Mistral helicopter carriers.


KRET is ready to equip the Mistral, previously intended for the Russian Navy, with electronic warfare defense systems.


Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov announced that Russia is ready to supply avionics for the helicopter carrier to its future buyer, according to RIA Novosti. It has been reported that France is negotiating with Egypt for the sale of two Mistral ships that had previously been built for Russia.


KRET has proposed to outfit the Mistral ships with 5P28 Pobeditel electronic warfare defense systems, which can be installed on large ships such as aircraft carriers, helicopter carriers, and cruisers. The system greatly increases a ship’s survivability.


UIMC, another Rostec holding company, has developed communications and control systems for the Mistral and has agreed to adapt the Russian systems for Egypt.


According to UIMC representatives, the Russian equipment intended for the Mistral cannot be entirely sold to the new owner of the ships, as a number of elements and software programs must be removed from its communications and control systems first.


Registration for the re-export of this equipment is expected to take 1.5-2 months, and the adaptation of systems, components, and software for foreign customers may take another year and a half, as reported by RIA Novosti.


As noted by UIMC, upon their resale to a new customer, the ships themselves will need to be further developed, which will require cooperation with the Russian companies.


As a reminder, a contract worth 1.2 billion euros to supply Russia with two Mistral helicopter carriers was signed between the French company DCNS/STX and Rosoboronexport in 2011. France was supposed to transfer Vladivostok, the first ship, in November of last year, but did not do so because of the imposition of sanctions against Russia.


In early August, Moscow and Paris decided to terminate the contract for the construction and delivery of the Mistral ships. After returning all Russian equipment, France will be able to sell the helicopter carriers to another buyer.

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1 octobre 2015 4 01 /10 /octobre /2015 16:50
photo BAE Systems

photo BAE Systems


30.09.2015 BAE Systems


BAE Systems today delivered the first production series ARCHER artillery system to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) during a ceremony at the company’s Karlskoga facility.


The ARCHER system is one of the world’s most advanced artillery systems with high mobility and precision. ARCHER provides fire support that is powerful and flexible, and features high levels of autonomous operation under protection. It is based on proven subsystems and has an extensive ammunition portfolio.


“BAE Systems Bofors and FMV have been working very closely to achieve our high-level requirements for the ARCHER program. This is an important milestone as we begin the delivery of all systems for our Swedish customer,” said Lena Gillström, managing director for Weapon Systems, Sweden at BAE Systems, Inc. “ARCHER will provide the Swedish armed forces with an advanced artillery system that focuses on the safety of our soldiers.”


BAE Systems’ employees and representatives from FMV, the Swedish Armed Forces, and the Ministry of Defence were in attendance as Gillström delivered the first system to Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvst.


“ARCHER is an important part of strengthening the Swedish defense,” said Dan Ohlsson, Acting Director General for FMV.


BAE Systems delivered the pre-serial ARCHER systems to the Swedish government in 2013, which have been in use by the Swedish artillery regiment.

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1 octobre 2015 4 01 /10 /octobre /2015 16:45
photo General Dynamics Land Systems

photo General Dynamics Land Systems


01.10.2015 General Dynamics - army-guide.com


STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. -- The U.S. Army TACOM Lifecycle Management Command awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $358 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract to refurbish and upgrade 150 M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to the M1A1 SA (situational awareness) configuration for sale to the Kingdom of Morocco. General Dynamics Land Systems is a business unit of General Dynamics.


Under the M1A1 SA program, the main battle tanks are completely disassembled and overhauled to a like-new, zero-mile condition. Refurbished tanks incur lower operational and support costs and report higher operational readiness rates. M1A1s are configured with armor upgrades and additional mission-critical technologies to bolster crew situational awareness.


Deliveries will begin in January 2017 and the estimated completion date is February 2018. Work will be performed by existing employees in Anniston, Ala. and Lima, Ohio.

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1 octobre 2015 4 01 /10 /octobre /2015 13:55
Pourquoi le Mirage 2000 garde toute sa place dans l'armée de l'air

Le Mirage 2000 restera jusqu'en 2030 un avion de combat essentiel à l'armée de l'air française - photo Armée de l'Air


01/10/2015 Par Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr


Le ministère de la Défense lance dès 2015 le programme de rénovation à mi-vie des Mirage 2000D. L'armée de l'air souhaite la modernisation de 55 Mirage 2000D pour remplir son contrat opérationnel.


C'est un sujet qui aurait pu fâcher. Le ministère de la Défense a d'ailleurs réduit la pression en annonçant le lancement du programme de rénovation des Mirage 2000D. Pour autant, le dossier n'est pas encore tout à fait tranché, notamment sur le périmètre de la rénovation. C'est l'un des sujets prioritaires de l'état-major des armées (EMA) et plus précisément de l'armée de l'air. C'était d'ailleurs un des projets qui tenait "à cœur" l'ancien chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air, le général Denis Mercier, comme il l'avait expliqué aux députés en mai dernier.

Le ministre de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian a pris en compte cette demande de l'armée de l'air. Il lance la réalisation de la rénovation à mi-vie du Mirage 2000D dès la fin 2015 pour de premières livraisons en 2019 (6 appareils?). En outre, le projet de loi du budget de la mission défense prévoit l'industrialisation du programme de rénovation du Mirage 2000D. Il "permettra de mettre en cohérence le potentiel de ces avions avec leur date de retrait de service prévue à l'horizon 2030, et selon le principe de différenciation, de préserver le potentiel opérationnel des Rafale", explique le ministère. A coût d'exploitation sensiblement inférieur, le Mirage 2000D rénové pourra remplir des missions pour lesquelles l'ensemble des capacités du Rafale ne sont pas requises.


Quelles rénovations?

Quel périmètre de rénovation? Ce dossier fait partie des sujets qui pourraient fâcher. L'armée de l'air ne veut pas d'une rénovation a minima tandis que la direction générale de l'armement et Dassault Aviation y seraient plutôt favorables. Ce que l'on sait aujourd'hui c'est que le rénovation à mi-vie des Mirage 2000D traitera, selon le ministère de la Défense, des obsolescences techniques et confèrera au Mirage 2000D la capacité de tir canon air-sol et la possibilité d'emporter des missiles air-air d'autoprotection Mica infrarouge. La simulation sera également mise à niveau.

A l'horizon 2025, les forces aériennes disposeront, pour tenir leur contrat opérationnel, d'un parc de 225 avions de chasse fixé par le format du livre blanc de de la défense comprenant des Rafale (air et marine), des Mirage 2000D rénovés et des M2000-5 prolongés. Fin 2019, la France devrait disposer d'un parc de 247 avions de combat, contre 320 appareils, dont 110 Rafale (35 marine), 160 Mirage 2000 de tout type, 25 Mirage F1 et 25 Super-Etendard Marine (SEM) fin 2013.


Pourquoi cette rénovation est importante?

"La rénovation des Mirage 2000D est cruciale pour continuer à garantir le respect des contrats opérationnels, alors que les spécialistes Rafale seront très sollicités par ailleurs", avait expliqué le 15 avril dernier à l'Assemblée nationale le général Denis Mercier. Et de marteler "ma cible, pour tenir dans la durée, est bien de 55 Mirage 2000D modernisés". D'une façon générale, la prolongation de Mirage 2000 supplémentaires (2000-5) permettra de faire face aux nouvelles sollicitations opérationnelles et aux perspectives d'export du Rafale. C'est pourquoi l'armée de l'air étudie l'utilisation optimale des flottes en cours de retrait pour respecter les objectifs des contrats opérationnels.

D'ailleurs l'armée de l'air "bricole" un peu dans un contexte opérationnel chargé. "Nous mettons en place des solutions palliatives, a expliqué le Général Mercier. Nous nous efforçons notamment de répartir la charge sur la totalité de l'armée de l'air pour tenir dans la durée. Par exemple, nous étudions l'utilisation de Mirage 2000C et 2000N en OPEX (opération extérieure, ndlr) afin d'alléger la charge des escadrons de Mirage 2000D. Nous ferons ainsi voler des patrouilles composées de Mirage 2000D - qui disposent d'un pod permettant de guider les bombes - et de Mirage 2000C ou 2000N - qui ne peuvent pas emporter de pod, mais peuvent larguer des bombes".

En outre,  le 26 mai à nouveau auditionné par la commission de la défense de l'Assemblée nationale, le général Mercier soulignait que pour le Mirage 2000D, "il n'y a plus vraiment de polyvalence : la modernisation est un traitement d'obsolescences, en plus de l'ajout d'un canon et de missiles Mica. De même, la mise au même standard de tous les avions est absolument essentielle. Moins de 30% de mes Mirage 2000D sont aujourd'hui capables de faire toutes les missions opérationnelles, car les autres n'ont pas tous les câblages nécessaires pour emporter tous les équipements nécessaires aux missions opérationnelles. Quand ces avions, engagés en Afrique et en Irak, rentrent en France, nous les utilisons pour redonner du potentiel aux autres. C'est une sur-maintenance difficile à imaginer".

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1 octobre 2015 4 01 /10 /octobre /2015 12:50
Ouverture du bureau de l'attaché de Défense du Vietnam au Royaume-Uni

Le général Pham Quang Vinh (au micro) à cette cérémonie d'inauguration du bureau de l'attaché de Défense du Vietnam au Royaume-Uni, le 30 septembre à Londres.  Photo : VNA/CVN


01/10/2015 Vietnam+


Le bureau de l'attaché de Défense du Vietnam au Royaume-Uni a été inauguré le 30 septembre à Londres. Cet événement marque le 5e anniversaire de l'établissement du partenariat stratégique entre le Vietnam et le Royaume-Uni.


À cette cérémonie, l'ambassadeur du Vietnam au Royaume-Uni, Nguyên Van Thao a affirmé que le Vietnam considérait le renforcement de la coopération de défense avec les partenaires internationaux dont le Royaume-Uni, comme un pilier de son processus d'intégration intégrale.


Selon le général Pham Quang Vinh, représentant du ministère vietnamien de la Défense, le Vietnam fait grand cas du rôle du Royaume-Uni sur la scène internationale. La coopération entre les deux pays dans la défense contribuera à garantir la paix et la stabilité dans la région comme dans le monde.


Le chef du Département de la planification et de la politique internationale du ministère de la Défense du Royaume-Uni, le général Nick Bray, a salué l'ouverture de ce bureau d'Attaché de Défense du Vietnam, qui contribuera à développer les relations bilatérales dans ce domaine.


En 2011, les ministères de la Défense des deux pays ont signé un protocole de coopération dans la défense. Les deux parties ont organisé des cours d'anglais et de vietnamien pour leurs officiers. Actuellement, elles sont en train de mettre en œuvre des projets de coopération concernant le déminage, l’entraînement, le maintien de la paix dans le cadre de l'ONU, les techniques militaires, l'industrie de défense, etc.

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 16:20
TALONS System Mimics a Mast as Tall as a Skyscraper


Sep 25, 2015 (SPX)


Washington DC - DARPA's Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort recently demonstrated a prototype of a low-cost, fully automated parafoil system designed to extend maritime vessels' long-distance communications and improve their domain awareness. Towed behind boats or ships, TALONS could carry intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications payloads of up to 150 pounds between 500 and 1,500 feet in altitude-many times higher than current ships' masts-and greatly extend the equipment's range and effectiveness.


DARPA has successfully tested a TALONS prototype that can be deployed by hand from smaller boats, or by mast from larger ships. Before open-water testing, TALONS' rapid development began with land-based testing near Tucson, Arizona, in June 2014, followed by mock-up testing and measurement near Assateague Island National Seashore in Virginia in December of that year.


TALONS R and D began bench-testing the system in March 2015. Field testing on the water started in early May, and ran through June near Baltimore, Maryland, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. More than 20 TALONS flights were launched over that period, testing the system under various wind conditions and developing TALONS for different platforms.


In the Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore, the TALONS team improved hand-deployment techniques for smaller boats and sent the system up to 500 feet in altitude, tuning and programming automatic launch-and-recovery and autopilot systems. The Virginia Beach demonstration occurred several miles offshore and used a mast-deployment technique that extended TALONS' reach to 1,000 feet in altitude to display the system's utility for larger ships.


TALONS is part of DARPA's Phase 1 research for Tern, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research. Following successful testing, DARPA may transition TALONS technology to the U.S. Navy.

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 12:45
AGM-114 Hellfire II missile - Lockheed Martin

AGM-114 Hellfire II missile - Lockheed Martin


29/09/2015 par African Manager


Le Commandement des marchés de l’Armée américaine (USACC) a attribué à Lockheed Martin un contrat pour la fourniture d’un nombre non encore révélé de missiles AGM-114K / R3 Hellfire II à l’Egypte et à la Tunisie ainsi qu’à l’Irak, au  Pakistan et à l’Indonésie pour un montant de  357 800 000 de dollars au titre des ventes militaires à l’étranger. Dans un avis publié le 16 septembre par le ministère US de la Défense, l’USACC a précisé que Lockheed Martin était le seul soumissionnaire pour le contrat, qui devrait être exécuté avant septembre 2017.


Le AGM-114 Hellfire (hellfire signifie en anglais « feu de l’enfer ») est un missile antichar à guidage laser semi-actif, ou à guidage radar (de type tire et oublie) en fonction des versions. Il est principalement utilisé sur les hélicoptères, notamment sur l’AH-64 Apache, mais également sur des drones tels que les MQ-1 Predator et MQ-9 Reaper. Très polyvalent, il peut être employé contre tout type de véhicule, mais aussi contre des bâtiments. Sa portée relativement longue permet au lanceur de rester à l’abri, voire invisible.


 Bien qu’il n’y ait aucune spécification sur le nombre de missiles devant être livrés à chacun  de ces pays, une notification adressée en avril dernier au Congrès américain par le Département d’Etat a sollicité l’approbation de ce dernier pour une  «vente possible à l’Egypte de 356 missiles  AGM-114K / R3 Hellfire II Air-sol  avec des conteneurs, des pièces de rechange et de réparation, des équipements de soutien, outre la formation du personnel et  l’équipement de formation ».

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 12:35
Warplanes: The J-31 Mystery Deepens


September 30, 2015: Strategy Page


Recently someone in China anonymously posted performance data for the new Chinese J-31 fighter. This was in the form of a sales brochure (for trade shows) that had not been distributed to the public. So far the manufacturer has been vague about J-31 performance data. This despite the fact that the J-31 has been showing up at Chinese weapons shows. But so far this promotion has been all about looking at the impressive appearance of the J-31, not crunching any numbers.


It gets more interesting when you realize that the recently posted data ascribes better engine performance than actual engines the Chinese have in service or access to. There were also descriptions of J-31 electronics that sounded more like a Chinese wish list than anything the Chinese have or are known to be developing. Many in the industry see this as some kind of desperate publicity stunt.  Efforts to sell the J-31 have not been very successful so far.


In late 2014 China quietly approached some potential customers about interest in buying its 18 ton J-31 stealth fighter. For export customers the J-31 would be called the FC-31 and it was understood that this version would not have all the best stuff the J-31 has. Pakistan expressed some interest, but then Pakistan is the largest export customer for Chinese weapons. Pakistan apparently thought it best to wait a bit because it was unclear how ready the J-31 was for active service. Since 2012 China has been testing the J-31 “Falcon Eagle” (from an inscription on the tail). While it looks like the American F-22, it’s also smaller than China’s other stealth fighter (the 35 ton J-20, which has been around longer). The J-31 was built by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (which makes the J-11, the illegal Chinese copy of the Russian Su-27). The J-31 has some characteristics of the F-35 as well and appears to be something of an “F-35” to the earlier J-20s effort to match the American F-22. The J-31 flew for the first time in October 2012 and at that point there were at least two prototypes. The designer has talked of the J-31 being able to operate off an aircraft carrier (like the U.S. F-35 and the Chinese J-15, a J-11 variant).


One advantage the J-31 is that it has two engines, compared to one for the 31 ton F-35. In theory this means the J-31 could carry more weapons, but this is less crucial with all the guided weapons available. Moreover the J-31 is seen using Chinese engines, which are less powerful and reliable, even when two are used, compared to the single engine in the F-35C.


The J-31 is further evidence that China is determined to develop its own high tech military gear. While China is eager to develop advanced military technology locally, it recognizes that this takes time and more effort than nations new to this expect. Thus, China is trying to avoid the mistakes Russia made in this area. That means having competing designs and developing necessary supporting industries as part of that. All this takes a lot of time and involves lots of little (and some major) failures. The Chinese are doing it right and are willing to wait until they get military tech that is truly world class.


At this point the J-31 is scheduled to be ready for service in 2019 and have ground attack as well as air-to-air capabilities.

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 12:20
photo Roboteam

photo Roboteam


September 30, 2015: Strategy Page


An Israeli firm has managed to sell some of its small battlefield robots to the American military, which is a first for an Israeli firm. The U.S. Air Force has ordered over 200 Israeli MTGR (Micro Tactical Ground Robot) for their bomb disposal teams. This came after MTGR demonstrated its capabilities during the 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza. This was particularly true with the large number of Hamas tunnels discovered. These proved more complex and dangerous than any previously encountered and a new robot was needed to deal with the situation. Within days a specification was provided to Israeli robot manufacturers and by the end of July 2014 a new robot design had been accepted, in production, delivered and in action. This was the MTGR and while it was not a major breakthrough, it was simply a better application of design elements that had been developed since the 1990s and suited current Israeli needs. The Israelis have ordered over a hundred MTGRs for delivery ASAP. Based on its success in Gaza MTGR is being offered to other armed forces and police departments around the world.


MTGR is a 7.3 kg (16 pound) tracked (or wheeled version weighing 9 kg) robot. Tracks are preferred for climbing stairs and getting over obstacles. MTGR can carry up to 9 kg of accessories. The basic MTGR comes with five cameras, a microphone, and can carry additional sensors. The cameras have day/night capability, 360 degree views and x10 zoom. One of the more useful accessories is a robotic arm for clearing debris or searching. Another useful item are bright LED lights when you need illumination. MTGR uses GPS and can carry a laser rangefinder to measure dimensions of where it is. The battery lasts 2-4 hours depending how onboard equipment is used. Top speed is 50 meters a minute and max range for the operator is 500 meters.


MTGR is designed to be carried in a backpack and an operator can use the handheld control unit to operate several MTGRs at once. The MTGR was a lifesaver for exploring Hamas tunnels, which are often filled with booby traps and other nasty surprises for advancing Israeli troops. Often an MTGR was simply sent down, take a lot of measurements and pictures and then withdraw after which explosives will be lowered down and the tunnel collapsed. If MTGR detects documents or electronic devices like laptops, tablets or cell phones, MTGR will carefully survey the area and troops will go down to recover the valuable intel often found on such devices. If MTGR can reach cell phones or small tablets it can pick them up and carry them away.


What made MTGR special was the firm that provided it demonstrated that it was able to take existing technologies and quickly adapt them to new situations. The small firm that developed MTGR it had an existing design modified and readied for production in less than a month. In wartime this is a very valuable capability. This has now been demonstrated under combat conditions and the rest of the military robot industry has to adapt.


The U.S. Army has been using robots like the MTGR since the 1990s. American designs went through rapid refinement after September 11, 2001 because thousands of these robots were bought and used by American troops in combat. The culmination of all that was expressed in the XM1216 SUGV (Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle). SUGV was designed to be the definitive next generation infantry droid, replacing existing droids like the similar but larger PackBot. Not surprisingly MTGR is based on the same experience but more refined and using some newer technology.  This design was not ready for action until most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan was over. Thus by 2012 only about 200 of these combat robots were in service or on order. It was only in 2011, after more than six years of development, that the army bought its first production model SUGV. Many in the U.S. Army were not satisfied with how long it took to get SUGV to the troops and MTGR is proof that it could have been done faster.


Before September 11, 2001, the army didn't expect to have robots like PackBot or SUGV until 2013. But the technology was already there, and the war created a major demand. The robots expected in 2013 were to be part of a new generation of gear called FCS (Future Combat Systems). SUGV is still waiting for some of the high tech FCS communications and sensor equipment (which MTGR used), and appeared in 2011 using off-the-shelf stuff in the meantime. The troops don't care, as long as it worked. These small robots have been quite rugged, having a 90 percent availability rate.


The overly ambitious, expensive and much delayed FCS program was cancelled in 2009 but successful bits, like SUGV, were allowed to keep moving. This was a big deal for SUGV, because demand for these small droids collapsed when the Islamic terror offensive in Iraq did in 2008. There were plenty of droids left over for service in Afghanistan, where the Taliban provided a much lower workload for the little bots than did Iraq.


SUGV is a 13 kg (29 pound) robot, similar to the slightly older and larger Packbot. SUGV can carry 3 kg (6.6 pounds) of gear, and seven different "mission packages" are available. These include various types of sensors and double jointed arms (for grabbing things.) SUGV is waterproof and shock resistant. It fits into the standard army backpack, and is meant to operate in a harsh environment. The battery powered SUGV is operated wirelessly, or via a fiber optic cable, using a controller that looks like a video game controller with a video screen built in. SUGV can also use an XBox 360 controller, with the right drivers. Like the earlier PackBot and later MTGR, SUGV can climb stairs, maneuver over rubble and other nasty terrain.


The SUGV design is based largely on feedback from combat troops. For example, it is rugged enough to be quickly thrown into a room, tunnel or cave, activated and begin sending video, as well as audio, of what is in there. This feature makes it very popular with the troops, who want droids with the ability to see, hear and smell were more acutely. No one likes being the first one going into dark, potentially dangerous, places. Throwing a grenade in first doesn't always work, because sometimes frightened civilians are in there. Despite all these fine qualities, the current generation of robots is not fast enough, agile enough or sensitive enough to compete with human troops doing this kind of work. Sometimes, however, the robots are an adequate, and life-saving, substitute. SUGV is supposed to be better at this sort of thing.


SUGV can also perform outpost and listening post work. These are two dangerous jobs the infantry are glad to hand off to a robot. Outposts are, as the name implies, one or two troops dug in a hundred meters or so in front of the main position, to give early warning of an enemy attack. A listening post is similar, but the friendly troops are often much deeper into enemy territory. The SUGV battery enables it to just sit in one place, listening and watching, for eight hours or more. After that, you send out another SUGV with a fresh battery, and have the other one come back for a recharge. No risk of troops getting shot at while doing the same things, and the troops really appreciate that. Again, the problem with this is that the robot sensors are just not there yet. The sensors are getting close, but not close enough for troops to trust their lives to this thing.


Other dangerous jobs for the SUGV are placing explosives by a door (to blow it open for the troops), or placing a smoke grenade where it will prevent the enemy from seeing the troops move. Since 2006 users of the older PackBot UGVs filled military message boards with interesting uses they have found for these robots, and new features they could make use of. SUGV and MTGR are the products of all that chatter.

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 11:35
Procurement: How The Indian Army Got Its Apaches


September 29, 2015: Strategy Page


India, after three years of deliberation by the procurement bureaucrats and politicians, approved the purchase of 22 American AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships and 15 CH-47F transport helicopters. Such delays are not unusual for India where decades of corrupt foreign arms purchases have been exposed in the last decade and the made those still involved in those decisions extremely cautious. It usually takes external events to move decisions forward. In the case of the American helicopters the primary motivators were Russian sales to Pakistan and a feud between the Indian Army and Air Force. The Russian aspect has to do with the growing hostility of India to Russian weapons. For half a century Russia has been the major supplier of imported weapons. But since the 1990s, as India freed up the economy (from fifty years of crippling state controls) and finally reached the limit of tolerance for poor quality and support that characterized Russian weapons, India began to buy weapons from the West. Although more expensive the Western stuff was more effective, reliable and often cheaper to operate than Russian systems. Now Russia has made the situation worse by selling helicopters to Pakistan, the arch enemy of India. India seems content to let the Pakistanis have the Russian dreck while India proceeds to upgrade with Western equipment. Since 2001 India has bought over $12 billion worth of American weapons and military equipment. The U.S. is the largest source but Israel and several European defense companies are also major suppliers. The Russian arms salesmen are not amused.


Another factor in helicopter procurement is an ongoing feud between the Indian Army and Air Force about who controls AH-64s. The air force has long operated the helicopter gunships, arguing that these helicopters are crucial for certain air combat missions like attacking air defense radars and other helicopters. The army generals were furious over that and demanded that the government set the air force straight. The army was particularly anxious to get the 22 Indian AH-64s as soon as possible, as these are generally recognized as the best gunships currently in service anywhere. Now those helicopters are on the way and apparently the army will have them.


Back in late 2012 the Indian Army thought it had won a major victory over the Indian Air Force when the government agreed to transfer most attack helicopters from the air force to the army. That was supposed to mean the army gets control of over 270 armed helicopters (22 AH-64s, 179 light combat models, and 76 armed Indian made transports). The air force would continue to operate a dozen or so elderly Mi-25 and Mi-35 helicopter gunships, until they retire by the end of the decade. These are export versions of the Russian Mi-24. Even then it was clear that Russia was not the preferred helicopter supplier anymore.


The army had long complained that air force control of the armed helicopters, which were designed to support army operations, were sometimes difficult to get from the air force in a timely manner. Another aspect of this deal was a new agreement by the air force to station some transport helicopters at army bases in Kashmir, so that there will not be a delay when transport is needed for an emergency.


This sort of problem between the army and air force is not unique to India and is actually quite common. It all started back in the 1920s, a decade after aircraft became a major military asset. For example, at the start of World War I (1914-18), the British Royal Navy had more aircraft than the Royal Flying Corps (which belonged to the army). But at the end of World War I, it was decided to put all aircraft under the control of the new Royal Air Force (the former Royal Flying Corps). The navy was not happy with this and just before World War II broke out, the admirals got back control of their aircraft, at least the ones that operated from ships (especially aircraft carriers).


The British army expanded its Army Air Corps during World War II, to gain control over artillery spotter aircraft, gliders (for parachute divisions), and a few other transports for supporting commando operations. After World War II the Army Air Corps mainly controlled the growing fleet of transport and attack helicopters. The Indian Air Force has always refused to allow the Indian Army to do the same thing after modern India was created in 1947. The Indian armed forces was long led by men who started out as members of the British Indian Army and continued to note, and often copy, British practices.


Thus the Indian Air force, like its British counterpart tended to keep trying to control everything that flies. British Royal Air Force generals recently demanded control of everything that flies, believing that this is more efficient. The army and navy, not to mention the experience of many other nations, said otherwise. At the very least the army needs to control its helicopters and some small transports. In Russia the army always controlled ground attack aircraft, as well as some fighters. In the United States the Marine Corps controlled its own fighters, light bombers, and helicopters. It made a difference, especially to the marines on the ground, that the marine aircraft were being flown by marines.


Another problem with a unified air force is that it becomes, quite naturally, air force centric. This is understandable and the air force proceeds to develop strategies, and tactics, that emphasize looking at military matters from an air force viewpoint. Before World War II this led to the doctrine of strategic bombardment. This was supposed to be a decisive weapon but it wasn't. When nuclear weapons came along the air force believed that it finally had a way to make strategic bombardment decisive. But it didn't, as ballistic missiles (another form of artillery) became the key delivery system for nukes. Nuclear weapons were so destructive that they became more of a threat than a weapon that you could use. In fact the very existence of nukes resulted in them not being used again since the first two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945. The fact of the matter is that wars are still ultimately won by the ground forces. As the army likes to point out, the ultimate air superiority weapon is your infantry occupying the enemy air bases. Everyone else (the navy and air force) is there to support the infantry in actually winning the war.

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 11:35
Indo-Israeli LRSAM Range Extended By A Third


25.09.2015 by Livefist

The Indo-Israeli LRSAM/Barak-8 began its first hot trials with the Israeli Navy in May this year. In what could be the single most significant development in the weapon system's long-drawn journey, the Indian Navy has confirmed to Livefist that the LRSAM will sport an operational range a third higher than initially agreed upon. In effect, the LRSAM's range now moves from 70-km to in excess of 90-km or higher. Range upgrade discussions took place in November last year following a land test in Israel.


IAI and India's DRDO missile cluster (led by the DRDL) that have jointly developed the missile system, designated the Barak 8 for Israel and yet to be officially named in India, have begun work on boosting weapon range.


With preliminary integration activity already on, Livefist can also confirm that the LRSAM is all set to undergo its first test firing from Indian Navy destroyer INS Kolkata in November-December this year in the Arabian Sea. The weapon system is intended for a host of frontline surface combatants, including all future fighting ships of the Indian Navy.


Top Navy tell Livefist that while the 2nd Kolkata-class destroyer Kochi set to enter service on September 30, like the first ship of its class, sports a BEL-built HUMSA NG bow mounted sonar, the contracted active towed array sonar will be integrated within the next 16-18 months.

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